Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A writer's workspace is all in the mind

There's writing and then . . . there's 'writing it down'. So much of our work is more than the actual crafting of words. Plot ideas, character development, research -- it doesn't all need to take place in front of a computer. A writer's true workspace is all in the mind. I proved this to myself yesterday at the dentist office.

There I was, pinned to a dentist's chair. I knew if I didn't find something to focus on, my brain would flip through a thousand frivolous ideas worth about as much as used dental floss and I hate wasting a good hour like that.

So I thought about my new MC, a young woman in her early twenties. I needed to know what events in her childhood were significant, what she is passionate about, what are her inner conflicts? While the dental hygenist did her work, I was happily engaged character development and my MC revealed a lot of new details about her life.

The longer I write, the more amazed at how portable my workspace has become.

What about you? Do you need to write in a specific environment? Or can you write 'on the fly'?  Do you have any odd places or moments where you've worked on some aspect of your writing?


  1. Although I do my best writing-thinking at the computer or with pen and pad in hand in a coffee shop, I have begun to do some plot-work in my head while DRIVING. Only thing is, I like to keep a notebook on the seat beside me to jot down ideas. Would that be called "texting while driving"?

  2. I am lucky enough to have a room of my own to write in, but, yes, I'll take advantage of "off" time to muse about my work.

  3. I'm in AWE that you were able to get all creative while at the dentists!! I'd be so traumatised I'd not have the brains to think otherwise! LOL!!

    I think I'm best creative when not thinking about it too much. So I guess I write "on the fly"! I love that expression btw! Thank you!

    Take care

  4. Susan: Could be you are 'driving the plot forward!"
    Kathryn: What a luxury to have your own room. I have just gotten my own space, but I still like to move around even at home. Too restless I guess.
    Old Kitty: I'm sure I couldn't have done that if I was getting a root canal. LOL! It was just a cleaning, but I was amazed at how much my MC came through anyway.

  5. Hello! Thank you for stopping by my blog, Sweet Soliloquies. I enjoy seeing your posts at Facebook and am now making it a practice to check in here.

    I find I do my best writing away from the computer. The words seem to flow in the shower or while riding the bus to work. Maybe because that's when I'm relaxed and don't have a million thoughts vying for space!

    I've never tried "writing" in the dentist's chair but I think it's a SUPERB idea!

  6. Rahma, my best writing happens far away from my computer. The other day while watching a movie with my best friend my muse dropped in. During the interval I quickly saved it on my cell ( I didn't have my scribbling pad with me).

    I am amazed that you could think while you were at a dentist.

  7. Pamela: Showers and driving are great for me too! Both places present notetaking challenges don't they?

    Rachna: Another thing we have in common; saving stuff on our cell phones. I often email notes to myself. I love my iPhone!

  8. Daydreaming about wips I do everywhere, but I prefer my home for writing. I admit I take manuscripts to read and edit to the laundromat.

  9. I spend an awful lot of time trying to think of ways to maximise my writing time, and have blogged on it frequently - but writing whilst being de-scaled? That's hardcore. Great post and good thoughts.

  10. James: Thanks for stopping by. I surprised myself with this creative writing session. It also says a lot for my great dentist!

  11. I write absolutely everywhere. I can't turn it off! Great post

  12. Great post Rahma! Yes, inspiration can and often does strike in the most mundane or strange places..


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